Two Members of Parliament visit the Trudeau lab at Université de Montréal

Dr. Louis-Eric Trudeau, neuroscientist at the Université de Montréal and his research team hosted on April 4 two federal MPs, M. Yves-François Blanchet, leader of the Bloc Québécois, and M. Maxime Joncas-Blanchette MP for the Rimouski region and in charge of science issues at the Bloc. The goal was to discuss the funding of neuroscience and biomedical research in Quebec and in Canada and also the challenges of sharing research discoveries in French. Both expressed strong support for increased federal funding for research.

Lab visits are a great way to engage with elected officials and promote science in Canada – Congratulations Dr. Trudeau!

 

CAN submits a brief to the House of Commons permanent committee on Science and Research on “International Moonshot Programs”

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience joined its voice to a large coalition of Canadian stakeholders calling for the Canadian government to invest in a Canadian Brain Research Initiative, to make Brain and Mental Health Research a National Priority in Canada.

Read our brief, along with those of many other stakeholders, on the House of Commons website

https://www.ourcommons.ca/Committees/en/SRSR/StudyActivity?studyActivityId=11835988

Read CAN’s submission to the Minister of Finance pre-budget consultations

CAN made the following recommendations to the recent consultations on budget 2023 by the Minister of Finances:

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience recommends the following:

Recommendation 1: That the government of Canada increase investments in the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for the benefit of all Canadians. We urge the government to adopt a four-year plan to double the budgets of the three main federal funding agencies (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC) starting with a 25% increase in the next budget.  This recommendation aims to bring Canadian investment in scientific research to a level commensurate to that of other G7 countries.

Recommendation 2: That the government of Canada increase its support for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows by 50% for graduate scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships to increase both value and number awarded in the next budget. In conjunction with recommendation 1, this recommendation will ensure our next generation of scientists have the means to participate fully in Canada’s knowledge economy.

Recommendation 3: That the government of Canada make research on the Brain and Mental Health a national priority by investing in research to understand the brain through well-established and trusted organizations in the field.

Read our full submission here (PDF)

CAN holds its first in-person Hill Day in Ottawa November 3, 2022

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience held its first in-person Parliament Hill Day on November 3, 2022 in Ottawa. It was an opportunity for our team of neuroadvocates to meet face to face or virtually with members of Parliament, Senators, Parliamentary staff members and important senior civil servants to advocate for a increased support for CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC, graduate scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, and to make research on Brain and Mental Health a national priority. Continue reading

Read CAN’s submission to the FINA pre-budget consultations

Parliament - Centre block

The CAN advocacy team is happy to share our submission to pre-budget consultations in advance of the 2023 budget of the House of Commons permanent committee on Finances (FINA)
View our submission: Increased investment in scientific research for the health and prosperity of Canadians today and tomorrow
The deadline to submit a brief is Saturday, 8 October 2022 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time – View the news release here

First report of the new House of Commons Standing Committee on Science and Research tabled on June 6

On June 6, the new House of Commons Standing Committee on Science and Research tabled its first ever report, as part of its study on “Successes, Challenges and Opportunities for Science in Canada”. The Canadian Association for Neuroscience (CAN) was one of sixteen organizations that submitted a written submission as part of the consultations. The Committee held meetings over the course of three months, which CAN closely followed, hearing from science and research organizations, post-secondary institutions, companies and government departments.

CAN welcomes all 13 of the recommendations made to government, and is pleased that one of our recommendations (An initial 25% boost to the budgets of the three granting councils followed by a 10% yearly increase) was specifically referenced in the report. Additionally, we are happy to see that the Committee has recognized the tremendous setback to Canada’s research ecosystem caused by the pandemic, and the impact of the rapid mobilization of resources to conduct COVID-19 research, sometimes at the expense of research on other health issues. Continue reading

Recording available: Science Policy Session with Senator Stan Kutcher – April 25, 2022

Co-hosted by the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences and the Canadian Association for Neuroscience

On Monday, April 25, the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences and the Canadian Association for Neuroscience welcomed the Honourable Senator Stan Kutcher for a session on science policy and advice.

Key takeaways:

  • Scientists must engage in advocacy, it is an important part of their job
  • We need more scientists in Parliament.
  • In the absence of more scientists in Parliament, we need scientists and researchers to advocate on behalf of their communities, and highlight the important work they are doing.
  • We have to help politicians understand how science is part of everything we do, and how if we don’t invest in basic science, we don’t have the tools and products required to improve people’s health and lives.
  • Scientists and researchers need to be their own champions, and try to find other long-term science champions both in the House of Commons and in the Senate.
  • We need to highlight how government investments need to be in creating a “science enterprise”, so that young people will want to stay in Canada instead of going elsewhere, or being put off from doing scientific research all together.
  • It takes constant, repeated, and clear messaging. Fundamental science is a long-game, and communicating its impacts to politicians is a long-game.
  • Canada’s scientists need to trumpet their successes more. While mainstream media doesn’t have as many scientific journalists as it used to, science communicators need to step up to fill the void and to tell the story of science.

Continue reading

CAN-ACN response to budget 2022 – “A Plan to Grow our Economy and Make Life More Affordable”

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience recognizes key investments that were made to support targeted research areas in budget 2022 but calls on the government to provide broader support to the Canadian scientific community through increased funding for fundamental research. We are specifically disappointed with the lack of increased support for non-targeted, hypothesis-driven & investigator-led research funded through Tri-Agency – Canadian Institutes of Health Research – CIHR, Natural Science and Engineering Research Council – NSERC, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council -SSHRC). Continue reading